"Maxine Udall, Girl Economist" has a great post on our mildewing polity that concludes:
An advanced, technologically complex nation that cannot or will not achieve the basics of accountability and restitution (aka justice) with financial and corporate entities that have harmed its citizenry deeply and lastingly is (I very much fear) evidence of the beginnings of a failed state. That the failure will be economic and moral, as well as political, is probably no coincidence.
Exactly. The canary in the coal mine here is strategic defaulting, where the non-elites copy the elites in breaking contracts (social or legal) whenever it is personally advantageous to them. As Joseph Heller wrote (I paraphrase):
[YOSSARIAN] Why should I care?
[CHAPLAIN] What if everyone thought that way?
[YOSSARIAN] Then I'd certainly be a damned fool to feel any other way wouldn't I?
NOTE Via Economist's View, which I don't read nearly enough. Read Udall's complete post, too; it's got an interesting take on Adam Smith's discourse, which is quite different from that of the "free market" ideologues, quelle surprise.